Panthers VB split triangular
The Ellsworth Panthers volleyball team split a pair of games as part of a home court triangular on Thursday, Aug. 31, knocking off Glenwood City in two sets (25-9, 25-13) and pushing St. Croix Central to a third game before coming up short in the final set (23-25, 25-20, 6-15).
"We played pretty well last night for most of the match. We were winning in the first set against SCC, who is one of the best teams in the conference, and just let them back into the game," head coach Nicole Vande Berg said. "We had one rotation that we couldn't serve receive from and that hurt us. We came out strong in the second set."
The Panthers' first game Thursday night came again St. Croix Central, with the first match going down to the wire before Central was able to pull out the win, 25-23. The second match was another dog fight between the two teams, but Ellsworth came out on top this time around, winning 25-20. However, the third set did not go as the Panther's had planned, resulting in a 15-6 loss.
"We passed and served well in that game which resulted in a win. The third set we came out really flat. We had no energy and again got stuck in one rotation," Vande Berg said. "By the time we got out of that rotation we had dug way too big of a hole to come back from in a set to 15."
Top individual performers in the first game included MacKenzie Kummer — who had 11 kills, three blocks and three digs to lead the team — and Olivia Matzek, who had 15 assists in the game. Nadia Sigler chipped in three digs, while Claire Kummer had three aces.
The second match of the night for the Panthers went much better for the team, with a two set victory over the Hilltoppers of Glenwood City.
"Against Glenwood we played well. We missed too many serves, but passed, set and hit well," Vande Berg said. "MacKenzie Kummer was pretty much unstoppable. She could hit over the Glenwood block, so anytime she got a set it was going to be a kill. Her serves were also really tough. She contacts the ball so high that the angle they come at for a passer is really tough to deal with, which showed in the number of aces she had."
MacKenzie Kummer again led the team in kills (8) and blocks (4), while also leading the team in ace serves. Mallory Bleeker lead the team in digs with eight and Matzek again led the team in assists with 16.
Ellsworth is back in action again on Tuesday, Sept. 5 with another home match, this time a quad, followed by another quad match in Elk Mound on Thursday.
"We have some great opportunities to see some more conference teams before conference play actually starts, plus it gives us a great opportunity to be working on the creativity in our offense and fixing the rotation in serve receive that seems to give us some trouble," Vande Berg said.